Cats On Holiday
Weekend On Middle Bass Island
By Pat Delaney
Jimmy Buffet's ears must have been burning while he jetted to a million dollar happy hour somewhere Saturday night. August 22 the Cat's On Holiday shook the African eucalyptus and Indonesian teak of the outdoor cabana bar at St. Hazards Resort on Middle Bass Island. They broke every calypso rule commercial radio and record companies had spoon fed baby boomers for the last 40 years. The stripped down quartet led by Denis Devito launched their home brewed rock, folk, zydeco, and swamp fun on covers by John Lennon, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash's Burnin' Ring Of Fire, and Good Bye Girl of 80's Squeeze fame. The bar blenders were pushed to the limit as tequila bottles hung upside down like emergency room I.V. bags, Devito and Rick Christyson on guitars, Kevin Price on drums, and Dillon Devito keeping time on Bass, ripped through originals Walk Johnny, Drinkin', Greet the Devil. The tight songs and fat sound from the latest Cat' CD, Workin' man stirred the crowd into a frenzy that could have looked like the last night on earth. The Bride, Train, and Workin' Man and a 90's Sublime ditty ballooned into the night with a back drop of scantly clad girls dancing on the bar while simultaneously adding percussion. Not to be cheated out of the end of summer fun, the young female revelers were joined by the more senior Lake Erie Island veterans who exhibited bare chested decades old moves of their own. Last Call dropped like a guillotine and the Put In Bay Township police moved in. The twenty something co-eds dropped of exhaustion from buck cherry bomb shots and stripper moves, and the mid life crisis recreational boat captains cleared like the smoke of a 4th of July grand finally. Denis Devito tipped his pork pie hat, signed a CD, said "Thanks for the vibe..." and disappeared with his guitar into the jungle foliage. The performance was a dangerous mixture of energy and honest roots music that I am convinced can not be duplicated by any other band. This event took place in real time and was witnessed by Delaney from behind the Hazard's bar.
"B+ on "Workin' Man" CD (Cohtone)- Plain Dealer's "CD Spotlight"(Nov. '07): "The band posesses the bubbly vibrancy of an early Barenaked Ladies on their cover of Squeeze's 'Goodbye Girl', while singer-guitarist Denis Devito shows the group's true charm on the original track 'Zydeco Lady'. The latter is a midtempo, accordian fueled romp, which features an off-kilter, Talking Heads-esque rhythm and a sizzling quitar lead that doesn't disappoint....'Workin' Man' is blue-collar music for a blue collar town." John Benson, The Plain Dealer "The cats are a true-blue dyed-in-the-wool bar band that provides more than a good time." Cleveland On-Line
"Cats On Holiday, one of Cleveland's most popular and requested rock bands, brings its original mix of rhythm and wit to Public Square." Press Release US Postal Service
"Cats, which draw inspiration from the Kinks, the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello and Cajun music, doesn't have a booking agent, a press agent, or any other kind of agent. All of the group members have day jobs." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"...Playing like a damn rock band!...Great lead guitar work from Denis DeVito and Bill Fury...Steve Frieg's plaintive, lilting accordian is wonderful..great harmony..." Scene Magazine "
"Fun Stuff...Very well put together for all that fun...Part Talking Heads in its clever use of rhythms and grooves, the other part NRBQ in its fun use of a wide variety of musical styles...deft musicianship and a light intellectual touch...sharp arrangements and production...They take shots at ex-loves, barroom drunks, their own 'rustbelt rut', and individuals without being mean, just funny...Like a Seinfeld episode,is intelligently humorous and well performed...A bar band with real studio talent..." Music Reviews Quarterly